Issues We’re Working on
Access to Early Voting —
The LWVTSC is continuing an effort that started in 2019 to increase the number of early voting locations. This objective was sought in collaboration with 20 other community organizations and leaders. The Election Commissioner and the County Commission have been approached. When that brought no results, the Secretary of State was asked to work with the Shawnee County Election Commissioner on this task. Again, no response.
Who Joined the Effort in 2019?
Mayor de la Isla; YWCA advocacy committee, Dr. Tiffany Anderson, USD 501 superintendent, Asbury Mount Olive United Methodist Church and four other local Methodist churches, LULAC, MANA of Topeka, the Links, Kansas AFL-CIO, KNEA, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, El Centro, KLC alumni of Topeka, and individuals including Blanche Parks, Grace Morrison, Marilyn Ault.
To date, the only early voting location in Shawnee County has been the Election Office located at 34th and SW Van Buren. We are not aware of a satellite early voting location being planned for the 2023 election cycle.
Of the 10 largest counties in Kansas, Topeka is the only first-class city that does not have an additional early voting location. With established community collaboration, the LWVTSC will continue to actively promote voter participation with the addition of an early voting location.
How can you help?
Contact (email, call or write) Shawnee County Election Commissioner Howell and voice your support for expanded early voting opportunities in Shawnee County. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone, 785-251-5900 or by mail to Election Office, 3420 SW. Van Buren St., Topeka 66611)
Express your support for these improvements in access to early voting:
- Increase the number of early voting locations. (There is ONLY ONE early in-person voting locating in Shawnee County — the County Election Office. )
- Increase early voting access outside of business hours (evenings and weekends).
(Shawnee County’s early voting period isn’t currently at the maximum number of days allowed by law.)
- The ACLU of Kansas recently conducted polling that shows that Kansans support access to voting. “The survey, conducted by the nationally renowned pollster Global Strategy Group for the ACLU of Kansas, sampled 600 registered Kansas voters from January 26 to January 31, 2023.” See a summary of the results here Learn more by reading the full report.
- Want to dig deeper into election administration? The Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit released two audit reports this year that looked at election security in 15 counties. While the audits looked at only a few counties’ election practices (Shawnee County was not included in the audit) the findings point out that there is room for improvement statewide. See the part 1 and part 2 of the audits for in-depth information.